Hyundai and Toyota ad bans put car brands on red alert

car_charging2Major car brands have been sent a warning shot over how they advertise their electric vehicles following a double ruling against Hyundai and Toyota which have been fingered for exaggerating how quickly their models could be recharged.

Hyundai Motor UK was the first in the dock over three separate ads for its IONIQ 5 model – which retails from £42,665 – devised by agency Innocean Worldwide UK.

All three executions – a digital OOH poster in London’s Piccadilly Circus, a YouTube video linked to the brand’s sponsorship of Chelsea FC, and an online marketing brochure featured text that stated, claimed the car could achieve a “10% to 80% charge in 18 minutes using 350kw charger”.

However, three complainants contacted the Advertising Standards Authority. They believed that there were significant limitations to achieving the advertised charging rate, including low temperature, and challenged whether the claim the could be substantiated and was misleading.

In response to the ASA investigation, Hyundai accepted that there were a large number of variables which could influence the charge time for an electric vehicle battery, including battery temperature, ambient temperature and the age and condition of the battery, and that actual results for individual drivers may therefore vary.

And, having initially tried to justify its claims and provide evidence, the company “blinked first” and conceded it would be willing to amend the claims to make clear that charging time could vary and was dependent on being connected to an ultra fast 350 kW charger.

Of course, this all came too late for the ASA which banned the ads after concluding: “Because the ads omitted material information about the factors that could significantly affect the advertised charging time and the limitations in relation to the availability of 350 kW chargers, [the claims had] not been substantiated and were misleading.”

Toyota, meanwhile, has been hauled up over claims made on its website for its electric bZ4X model – which sells for just over £46,000. One section of text stated: “Making electric easy…Three charging options offer flexibility – use rapid public charging to reach 80% charge in around 30 minutes* with a 150 kW fast-charging system, charge through a fast charging wallbox which can be installed at home, or plug into a socket at home.”

One complainant, who believed that there were significant limitations to achieving the advertised charging rate, challenged whether the claim “use rapid public charging to reach 80% charge in around 30 minutes with a 150 kW fast-charging system”, was misleading and could be substantiated.

In its defence, Toyota also trotted out the line that “local circumstances” might affect the charge time but insisted it was actually being “conservative” with its claim.

Once again, the ASA was having none of it, banning the ad because it omitted material information about the factors that could significantly affect the advertised charging time. In fact, at the time there was not a single 150 kW fast-charging system in Northern Ireland.

Both companies were warned to ensure future advertising did not include misleading information about battery charge times.

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